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Subject: Re: Undefining a compiler 's predefined macro
From: Edward Diener (eldlistmailingz_at_[hidden])
Date: 2020-03-22 10:04:05


On 3/22/2020 10:41 AM, Andrew Schepler via Std-Discussion wrote:
>
>
> Is undefining a predefined macro "using" the macro ?
> Probably, but the imprecise meaning of the term "used otherwise" can
> certainly be improved in that note.
>
>
> I can actually see this argument. [lex.name <http://lex.name>]/1
> describes "identifier" as an element of the grammar used in translation
> phase 3, one type of preprocessing-token. But then [lex.name
> <http://lex.name>]/2 discusses the grammar used in translation phase 7,
> where "identifier" is one type of token. Technically these two meanings
> of "identifier" are two separate things. So which do the restrictions of
> [lex.name <http://lex.name>]/3 apply to?
>
> If we say they restrict what appears in the translation unit immediately
> when preprocessing-tokens are first formed in phase 3, a use with #undef
> is forbidden, but then we might wonder about preprocessing-tokens formed
> by ## concatenation in phase 4. If we say they only restrict identifiers
> as phase 7 tokens, a use with #undef would be fine since preprocessing
> directives are deleted at the end of phase 4. Probably the intent is to
> restrict both kinds, but yes, I'm not exactly concluding that from the text.
>
> Turning to the practical, though. As with any undefined behavior, an
> implementation is free to define what it actually does, so that a
> program with undefined behavior is fine with that compiler, just less
> portable. Whatever you're trying to do is certainly not portable, so
> possibly the compiler's documentation and usage guides are a more
> appropriate source than the C++ Standard for a practical answer to this
> in the first place. If its documentation says you can undefine the
> macro, go ahead. I'm not aware of any such allowed case, though.
>
> If it's not documented as allowed, it should probably be avoided.
> Usually the purpose of predefined macros is to describe how the compiler
> behaves, in general or because of current settings, or to hook into an
> implementation custom feature. If you undefine a behavior description
> macro, that most likely won't change the actual compiler behavior it
> describes, so there could be a chance some code in the implementation's
> Standard library or other code counting on the macro test now does
> something wrong. Also, because of those purposes, and given the
> restriction stated by the Standard, a compiler (possibly a future
> version of your own compiler) would be in its rights to treat its own
> meaningful reserved identifier in a special built-in way, possibly to
> the point of essentially ignoring the #undef and always forcing uses of
> the macro to give the built-in behavior, including a defined() result of 1.

You have brought up a good point. If I undefine a compiler's predefined
macro it is impossible to know how code in all included header files in
a TU after the #undef takes place will react. I can see that undefining
a compiler's predefined macro is foolish.


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